37 thousand West Virginians have Alzheimer’s Disease, according to a report released this week from the national Alzheimer’s Association.
For the first time, the annual Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report also included a national survey on the financial cost of Alzheimer’s or dementia. It shows the diseases can be really expensive for families and caregivers, costing Americans 236 billion dollars in 2016.
In West Virginia, there are more than 100 thousand Alzheimer’s caregivers, providing more than 120 million hours of unpaid care. That work is valued at over 1.5 billion dollars.
Nationwide, nearly half of those at-home caregivers must cut back on their own expenses in order to afford dementia-related care and more than a third lost income due to employment disruption. Those resulted in an average loss of approximately 15 thousand dollars in income compared to the previous year.
The report projects that by 2025, the number of West Virginians with Alzheimer’s or another dementia will increase by almost 20 percent.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation.